2018 Porsche Macan Review

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2018
The Car Connection
2018
The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

Aaron Cole Aaron Cole Managing Editor
June 1, 2018

The 2018 Porsche Macan is the performance pick among compact crossovers because of course it is. Purists may scoff, but we don’t much care.

It didn’t take long after its arrival for the Porsche Macan to become the best-selling model from the luxury automaker. It satisfied not only the growing appetite for luxury crossover SUVs, but also the Macan supplied the performance that many expected from the Porsche badge.

The 2018 Porsche Macan is hitting its stride now. A year removed from a turbo-4 base model, the Macan stands pat in the Porsche lineup this year—you’d have to look hard to notice any change from last year. (Hint: Look for the embedded SIM card, which constitutes the biggest change for 2018.)

Inaction isn’t a bad thing here. The 2018 Porsche Macan still earns a good 7.2 on our overall scale with a few notes. Performance predictably rises with deeper pockets; the Macan Turbo’s available 440-horsepower twin-turbo V-6 is epic. And, like all Porsches, there is a wide range of exterior and interior possibilities that can elevate the Macan’s style. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

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The Macan stands alone in its shape, the Cayenne has moved on. We preferred the Macan’s approach anyhow; its curves and direct line to sports cars read better in our book than the outgoing Cayenne. Inside, the Macan’s buttons bombard passengers with a bevy of options—we’ll take it for as long as it lasts, the whole world’s a touchscreen nowadays.

Under the hood, the Macan asks first for a choice between a turbo-4 and a turbo-6, the latter offering several permutations from there. Base Macans get a turbo-4 that makes 252 hp that was new for last year. We haven’t driven that model.

From there, the Macan offers several bank-account draining variations of the turbo-6. Macan S offers 340 hp, Macan GTS ups it to 360 hp, Macan Turbo climbs the ladder to 400 hp, and the Macan Turbo with Performance Package is the pinnacle at 440 hp. All of the above are mated to a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic and all-wheel drive. A fixed-steel setup of double wishbones up front and a rear multilink is standard on most models, upgradeable to an air suspension with adaptive dampers (standard on GTS versions).

Front passengers do fine, but asking for more than four in the Macan is asking for trouble. Its cargo hold isn’t entirely accommodating: 17.7 cubic feet by the numbers, but it feels smaller than that due to its shape.

Like the Porsche lineup, the Macan can be fitted with many thousands of dollars of optional extras that tip past six figures in top models.

Our advice? Start with a Macan S and add small touches like sport seats, an air suspension, and perhaps a few creature comforts. Opt for a Macan GTS if you’re the type of person who takes pleasure in the long way home.

You could find much more performance in a Macan Turbo—along with plenty of speeding tickets.

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2018 Porsche Macan

Styling

The Macan has been somewhat left behind by other models, but it still looks like Porsche to us.

The Macan once seamlessly blended into the Porsche lineup, with cues from their sports cars and an overall look cribbed from the Cayenne. Times have changed, and now the Macan is on the back foot after a revised Cayenne and more separation with the sports cars.

We still like the exterior and interior looks, but we say both look better in lighter shades.

The Macan earns two points above average for good looks, inside and out. We give it a 7 out of 10. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

The front of the Macan reads all Porsche in its headlights, side strakes, and front bumper. (Just don’t call it a grille, Porsche insists that its cars have never had one.) The Macan’s look is borrowed from the outgoing Cayenne, but we say the Macan wore it better anyway—scaled-down looked better in our eyes.

Around the sides, the Macan approaches anonymous without much detail to separate it from say, an Audi. Around back the Macan smoothes over the rear tailgate and its LED taillights wrap around what’s otherwise a fairly unfussy rear end. Macan Turbo models sport squared off, quad tailpipes, while the rest of the lineup gets quad-tipped, rounded exhausts.

Inside, Porsche festoons the interior with a barrage of buttons and a central touchscreen. The redundant, hard buttons for most systems is a nice analog touch that other luxury automakers—including Porsche in its Cayenne—have skipped.

The central gauge binnacle is classic Porsche and as instantly recognizable as the left-mounted ignition.

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2018 Porsche Macan

Performance

The Macan ranges from quick to blisteringly fast. The common thread: a capable suspension and transmission throughout the lineup.

The 2018 Porsche Macan is the pinnacle of crossover performance, according to us. Its blend of turbocharged engines, a willing 7-speed dual-clutch automatic, and effortless poise on the road are all above average—in fact, they’re great. It earns an 8 out of 10 for performance because it can’t overcome its tall ride height, or four-seater shape. If a sports car is what you’re after, might we show you over to the 718 or 911 side of the showroom? (Read more about how we rate cars.)

Last year, Porsche added a base turbo-4 to the Macan lineup that serves as the gateway. Its 252 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque is enough to motivate its mass up to 60 mph in a blink over six seconds but we wouldn’t know that for sure—we haven’t driven one.

More buyers will be tempted by the twin-turbocharged V-6 that comes in a variety of outputs. In the Macan S, the V-6 makes 340 hp and 339 lb-ft and drops the 0-60 mph time to 5.0 seconds, with the Sport Chrono package. It’s suitable for most purposes, with plenty of punch for highway passing and at home in ski-country climes.

The Macan GTS gets a slightly bigger boost—up to 360 hp—and a lowered ride height, air suspension, and bigger brakes. The GTS has enough gusto to make any commute interesting, but the trim level is better considered as a collection of performance-facing packages that can be had at a discount. Shoppers wavering between a Macan S and Macan GTS should consider the frequency—and proximity—of entertaining canyon runs before shelling out the extra cash.

The Macan Turbo raises the output to 400 hp (or 440 hp with Performance Package) and lowers the 60-mph sprint to 4.6 seconds or quicker. Like the 911 Turbo, the Macan Turbo bundles silly amounts of power into a small package—its turbos rip off blistering passes and crackle, spit, and spin out wastegate excess like a champion. The Macan Turbo doesn’t perform in the real world; its extraordinary prowess to quickly pull out Amtrak-sized gaps between it and the car behind it are wonderful. Wonderfully excessive, that is.

We applaud buyers who consider the Macan Turbo to be suitable for daily use, they’re the same folks who’d use a samurai sword for a letter opener.

Regardless of cylinder count or specific output, the Macan is mated to a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic (PDK, in Porsche shorthand) that’s a competent companion to any engine. It lacks the lurch that other dual-clutch automatics have from a standing start, and it rips off shifts with lightning speed.

All-wheel drive is standard on every Macan and it’s capable off-road, although we’re not sure how many buyers will consider it for that kind of detail. With the standard steel suspension setup, the Macan sports 7.8 inches of ground clearance. Opting for the air suspension (which is standard on the GTS) can raise the ride height up to 9.0 inches, or lower it down for more-efficient cruising or load-level height. In practice, the Macan is just as capable as a Land Rover Range Rover Evoque, but like that model, we’re not clear on how many buyers will ask it to trudge through a wilderness.

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2018 Porsche Macan

Comfort & Quality

The Macan is a reasonable facsimile of practicality wrapped around performance. Just don’t ask for too much versatility.

The 2018 Porsche Macan is a respectable performance machine in loose-fitting crossover clothing.

It’s comfortable for front seat riders, but we can’t say the same for back-seat passengers. Its fit and finish is top-notch Porsche quality, but the Macan’s capability is in its performance—not its capacity. We give it a 7 out of 10. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

The Macan will hold four adults in relative comfort, but we’d suggest racing to the front seats wherever possible. Driver and front-seat passenger are separated by a sea of buttons that would make Missile Command envious—a Porsche signature up until only recently. It’s a utilitarian look for an otherwise pretty, and uncluttered cabin.

Its seats range from somewhat-luxurious base posts to deep, wide, soft, and expensive sport seats. The 18-way adjustable buckets can be heated, cooled, and drooled on—they’re great.

Tall passengers in the rear seat may have to jockey with front-seat passengers for extra leg room. The seats are otherwise fine, but only for two passengers. Cramming three in the back is highly inadvisable, unless they’re co-workers or sworn enemies.

With the seats up, the Macan holds 17.7 cubic feet of cargo on paper, but in reality it’s less than that. The cargo area is mostly constrained by the shape of the Macan’s hatch; it’s low, but not very wide. Fold the rear seats down and the room grows to 53 cubic feet, enough for an ambitious day of shopping—just not at Crate & Barrel.

Throughout the cabin, the Macan is awash in high-quality materials that only get better with more money. For our tastes, the Alcantara seats are the right kind of durable and comfortable, with plenty of grip because it’s a Porsche after all.

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2018 Porsche Macan

Safety

The 2018 Porsche Macan lacks a complete set of crash-test results.

Federal and independent safety officials haven’t crash-tested a Porsche Macan, and we don’t expect that to change soon.

Without safety data, we can’t assign a score. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

Most high-dollar luxury cars escape the full battery of crash tests because expensive cars are a pain to ruin.

The Macan is equipped with a standard complement of airbags for all passengers, including driver and passenger knee bags, and side curtain airbags for rear passengers. Lane departure warning systems are standard on all Macans. Blind-spot monitors and a surround view camera system are optional.

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2018 Porsche Macan

Features

The 2018 Porsche Macan takes the crossover idea and adds heaps of performance. Just be prepared to pay for it.

If “affordable” and “Porsche” sound mutually exclusive to you, the 2018 Macan may have a surprise for you.

It’s the lowest priced new Porsche available on lots today and starts at $48,850, including destination. The automaker is famous for offering leather wrapped everything (including air vents) and charging dearly for them. If that’s your fancy, Porsche is happy to oblige, but base Macans are hardly spartan.

They’re offered with power adjustable front seats, leather and Alcantara upholstery, tri-zone automatic climate control, 18-inch wheels, automatic headlights, a 10-speaker audio system, and a 7.0-inch touchscreen for infotainment with Bluetooth connectivity.

We give the Macan points above average for its base equipment, optional extras (there are plenty), its infotainment, and Porsche’s famous customization—no two Macans need look alike. We land at a 9 out of 10. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

Stepping up to the Macan S, Porsche adds 19-inch wheels and the uprated V-6.

The Macan GTS trim level includes a higher-performance V-6, lowered ride height, an optional air suspension setup with adaptive dampers, and sportier Alcantara seats.

The Macan Turbo tests physical limits for the crossover with a 400-hp twin-turbo V-6 and 164 mph top speed. It also tests wallets with an entry price nearing $80,000.

For that kind of money, buyers get 19-inch wheels, a 14-speaker audio system by Bose, upgraded sport buckets, and bragging rights. The basic Macan Turbo rides on the standard steel suspension setup, but we imagine most owners will sub in the air suspension for that kind of money.

For $10,000 on top of the Macan Turbo (yup, nearly $90,000) shoppers can opt for a Performance Package that ups the output to 440 hp, makes the air suspension standard, lowers the ride height by 10 mm, and adds a sport exhaust.

It’s not hard for any shopper to push the price of a Macan past $100,000, but we’d exercise caution before draining a college fund. A patient hand can add plenty of comfort and performance to a Macan S—sport seats, premium audio and navigation, adaptive dampers, and sport chrono—for just north of $60,000.

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5

2018 Porsche Macan

Fuel Economy

The 2018 Porsche Macan isn’t frugal; relative to its performance, it’s about average.

Despite its relatively small size, the 2018 Porsche Macan isn’t particularly frugal.

The most efficient model is the base turbo-4, which is rated at 20 mpg city, 25 highway, 22 combined. We expect more buyers will be interested in 6-cylinder versions, which earn a 17/24/19 mpg rating by the EPA’s calculators. Those versions earn it a 5 out of 10 on our scale. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

All Macans are rated for premium unleaded, which is relatively common for high-output, turbocharged engines.

Some competitors offer better fuel economy—but not many offer the same performance.

The Audi SQ5, which is distantly related to the Macan, earned a 19/24/21 mpg rating. Most versions of the GLC-Class manage 24 mpg combined, although the high-powered GLC63 is likely to manage combined fuel economy in the teens when it’s released.

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June 7, 2018
2018 Porsche Macan S AWD

My Macan offers sports car performance in a much more comfortable package.

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The biggest complaints I hear is poor gas mileage & back seat comfort. I can get 28 MPG on the highway & I don't use the back seats much but compared to the 911, they're spacious. I have 28,000 problem free... + More »
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$47,800
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7.2
Overall
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Rating breakdown on a scale of 1 to 10?
Styling 7
Performance 8
Comfort & Quality 7
Safety N/A
Features 9
Fuel Economy 5
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